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Mon., Aug. 18, 2008, 9:04 a.m.

Israeli’s recognize humanitarian effort by Free Gaza…

NICOSIA, CYPRUS (18 Aug. 2008) - In a letter
today to the Free Gaza Movement, the Israeli
Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that the
group of international human rights activists
attempting to break the siege of Gaza were
"humanitarian," and stated that the Israeli
government "assume[s] that your intentions are

Greta Berlin, one of the organizers of the Free
Gaza Movement stated that, "Since the Foreign
Minister's office responded to our invitation to
join us, and said that we have good intentions,
we now fully expect to reach Gaza."

According to recent reports in the Israeli media
however, the Israeli military is preparing to use
force to stop the nonviolent campaigners from
reaching Gaza. It's not clear if the letter from
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signals a change
of policy, or is simply an attempt to open up an
official dialogue between the state of Israel and
the Free Gaza Movement regarding the current

The Free Gaza Movement is preparing to sail two
ships into Gaza carrying 40 human rights workers
from 17 different countries. They will also
deliver hearing aids for children who have lost
some or all of their hearing due to Israeli sound
bombs and sonic booms.

The ships have been named the SS Free Gaza, and
the SS Liberty - in recognition of the USS
Liberty, a U.S. Navy ship, carrying 340 that was
attacked by Israeli Þghter planes and torpedo
boats on 8 June 1967, assassinating 34 American
sailors and wounding 170.

The Free Gaza Movement hopes to draw attention to
the devastating consequences of the Israeli
blockade by actively demonstrating the power of
non-violent direct action to change inhumane
governmental policies. ###


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.